Researchers have found out that the benefits of exercise when it comes to lowering blood pressure can be inhibited when people use antibacterial mouthwash instead of water.
One of the benefits of exercise is to lower blood pressure. But according to new research, this benefit may be obtained depending on the activity of bacteria found in our mouth, given its significance in cardiovascular health.
Scientists remind health professionals that the oral environment should be given consideration when prescribing intervention to relieve high blood pressure, such as engaging in physical activities. This study was published in Free Radical Biology and Medicine and conducted by the University of Plymouth with the participation of the Center of Genomic Regulation in Barcelona.
Reason Why the Study is Conducted
According to one of the authors of the study, scientists are already aware of the effects of exercise on blood pressure. As the diameter of the blood vessels increases during exercise due to the production of nitric oxide, the blood flow circulation increases, thereby making muscles more active.
But it is still not clear how the circulation of blood remains higher after exercise triggering post-exercise hypotension. Previous studies have shown that nitric oxide is not produced after exercise; instead, it is only produced during exercise. However, this view is challenged by the new study.
For years, nitrate, a compound formed when nitric oxide is degraded, was believed to have no function in the body. But over the last decade, it was shown that the salivary glands might be responsible for the absorption of nitrate, then excreted with the saliva.
This means that some bacteria found in the mouth can utilize nitrate and convert it into nitrite, a vital molecule that triggers nitric oxide production. If this is swallowed, this may be reduced back to nitric oxide which is responsible for maintaining low blood pressure after exercise.
Findings of the Study
The study has shown that the average systolic blood pressure of participants who rinsed their mouths with antibacterial mouthwash is -2.0 mmHg, compared to other participants who rinsed with the placebo is -5.2 mmHg.
The result only shows that more than 60 percent of the benefits of exercise were diminished over the first hour and 100 percent two hours thereafter when antibacterial mouthwash was used.
Furthermore, the levels of blood nitrite did not improve after exercise when they used an antibacterial mouthwash, compared to the placebo, which is only an indication that the key source of nitric oxide in the circulation after exercise is oral bacteria.
The study shows that oral bacteria has a huge role in nitrite synthesis, thereby promoting low blood pressure and increasing muscle oxygenation. Oral bacteria is key to the production of nitric oxide which is necessary to opening up the blood vessels.
This study further strengthens existing studies about the impact of mouthwash on the effects of exercise. However, more studies are still needed to establish in more detail how exercise affects the activity of oral bacteria as well as its composition, especially in individuals who are at higher risks of cardiovascular diseases. This will help allow us to have a deeper understanding of a more efficient means of treating high blood pressure.